Raymond Salgado has gone from singing O Canada at Nanaimo Clippers and Timbermen games to performing the national anthem for B.C.’s favourite sports team.
Last week, the Lantzville resident was named winner of the Vancouver Canucks’ Anthem Bracket Challenge, a competition that put eight singers against each other for the chance to sing O Canada before a Canucks game. Salgado made it through all three rounds and is scheduled to perform the anthem at Rogers Arena before the team’s match against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 17.
Salgado said “it’s always been a dream of mine to sing at a Canucks game,” but said the win was completely unexpected, especially since he tossed off his audition video at home without much fuss.
“I was actually with my best friend and [I was] just like, ‘Hey, I need to record this audition, do you want to just stand back for a second?’ and it was just really random,” Salgado said. “I just didn’t expect anything to happen from that because usually when I send an audition I make sure that I’m in a well-lit place, the lighting is great, I’m well dressed, but I was like, ‘Naw, I’ll just send it and see what happens.’”
Salgado said he felt like he could have done a better job on his submission and wasn’t thrilled when he learned the same video would be used for each round of the competition, but he thinks his “sincere” performance is what won over voters.
“I think because I wasn’t so in my head that it was just natural,” he said. “Because sometimes I’ll overthink videos, like when I’m doing a cover of a song I’ll practise and practise and try to make it as perfect as it is.”
Salgado describes his version of O Canada as a “more contemporary and more soulful” rendition, adding that “it’s one of those songs that you don’t really want to touch so much … but you still want to give a little bit of yourself.”
Salgado said there will be more preparation for his live performance than for his audition. He’ll be training with his vocal instructor in the weeks leading up the performance and trying out the song in different keys. He said he expects there will be “so many emotions” when he takes to centre ice, but said “I just really have to have fun and enjoy the moment because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“I am going to be a little bit nervous because I haven’t sang live in a long time,” he said. “It will be so nerve-racking for me but overall I’m obviously so ecstatic for this opportunity and I feel like this is just another stepping stone for my career as a singer.”
The Canucks season has been disrupted by a COVID-19 outbreak that has led to six games being postponed. As of this writing however, the April 17 game remains on the schedule.
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